Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter No 22 November 2006 page 3 (of 6)
I was talking to Mickey Rosen, the son of my revered Headmaster, Kopul Rosen, of Carmel College and we were discussing Carmeli songs of the past.
I asked him, do you remember how we used to sing LO AMUT from the HALLEL prayers and the two of us immediately burst into singing with great gusto the version which my Dad used to sing in Middlesbrough.
I said to him, Mickey, where did that tune come from? and he replied, Oh, it was one of my father’s - he probably picked it up from his days at Mir Yeshiva.
Oh, I replied, it is funny you say that, as I remember my friend Michael Bharier davening one Rosh Chodesh in school, singing the same Nigun and your father remarked: it sounds like a North Country Nigun, from a second class Hazzan.
I quoted Michael Bharier’s comment: You are dead right, Sir. David Saville Jerusalem, Israel
What's in a Jewish Name?
In, writing this column, I have experienced the plurality of narrative traditions within families. One example is how the Savilles of the North-east of England received their name.
Based on the story of one part of the family, I wrote that the surname was Sobol and, as it was spelt without vowels, when they arrived in England a transliterator misread this as Saville. Sobol was a Jewish lady's name in Poland and Russia. Alternatively the name suggests that the family were furriers, Sobol meaning sable.
Another part of the family made contact with me. Their claim was that the name on entry to England was Schabel. An uncle advised them that a European name would not be good for business. They needed an English name. In South Shields where they lived, there was a Saville Street. So, they took Saville – really a French word - as their English surname. Many years later, a resident of the town assumed that the family had been so prominent, that the town had named Saville Street after one of them.
What does Schabel mean? Possibly it is from the German "schaben" – to shave – and could indicate a carpenter or barber in the family. Apparently, they hail from Skudos in Lithuania. Could Schabel have a connection with the Lithtuanian town of Siauliai, known to Jews as Shavel. Rabbi Meir Salasnik Bushey Synagogue, England
[Reprinted from United Synagogue Daf Hashavua]
Stuart Kohn was born in Streatham in South London on 11th March 1933 to Charles, a refugee from Romania, and Sylvia. He was to remain their only child.
His first major drama came in 1940 when he was evacuated from London and sent to live in deepest mid-Wales in a tiny hamlet called Ffarmers. He stayed there for a year or so before it was deemed safe to return to London. Interestingly, he returned to Ffarmers 3-4 years ago and found it very little changed.
He was educated at Battersea Grammar School, where he did well academically and where he excelled at music. In his final year at school he was lead violinist for the London Schools Orchestra, at that stage the best youth orchestra in the country. In this regard he took after his father who had been a concert pianist. He always had a fondness for Battersea Grammar and retained some contacts throughout the years.
From Battersea Grammar he won a place at Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University where he studied History. He was an able student who continued to enjoy playing music and whilst here he took up rowing. His studies were somewhat disturbed, as it was while he was here that his father died.
He left Cambridge and went straight into National Service, serving for two years in the Royal Navy. This was not a particularly enjoyable time for dad as he suffered from seasickness. The only saving grace was that because he didn't smoke he was able to trade his ration of cigarettes for additional tots of rum and other treats.
When he left the Navy in 1957 he joined a business that had connections with his family - Thomas Mouget & Co. The business provided services to the steel industry and over the course of 17 years he rose from Management Trainee to become Commercial Director. In the same year he also met Ruth Daniels and they got married the following year at which time they moved to Middlesbrough.
Charles was born in December 1960 and was followed by David in 1963 and Richard in 1965.
In 1969 Stuart moved to Sunderland. He quickly immersed himself into community life taking charge of the local Jewish Cubs Group and helping to found Sunderland Samaritans. In 1972 he took the momentous decision to join Sunderland Lions, where he remained active for 34 years until his death. Lions was a huge part of dad's life and a great source of satisfaction to him. He also helped to found Sunderland MIND in 1975, a time when he was undergoing emotional problems himself.
Stuart's career after Thomas Mouget was a bit of a curate's egg for many years. He did all sorts of things to make a living - selling industrial paints and corrosion protections, selling glass ships in bottles, doing market research. Throughout all this time he dedicated himself to his voluntary work, often at the expense of his own financial welfare. Little examples - for years he would spend every Xmas Day giving lunch to the homeless and helpless at Sunderland MIND; he helped organise the Boxing Day Dip - one of Sunderland's biggest charity events - with ever-increasing enthusiasm every year; and every Xmas he went round the round the pubs collecting money
dressed as Father Xmas - if only all the kids knew Father Xmas was actually Jewish!
His big break in later life came in 1995 when he got a job with Mental Health in South Tyneside, MHIST. He took to this with great gusto and turned a fairly undistinguished local charity into one of the social success stories of the North East. He managed the move to superb new premises, developed a whole set of new services and relentlessly raised funding. If anyone should ever have got an MBE for good works it was dad. He only retired from this a couple of years ago.
He was a good man who will be much missed. David Kohn England